Tales From Graduate School?

I know, it has been long since I posted anything here, let alone something related to ‘tales from graduate school’. I chose the tagline since I’m now doing my masters but I doubt I want to share details of my classes with you; the inattention during classes, the joys(?) and pains of commuting to school everyday, the assignments that lie forgotten, the pending CATS that need to be read for, the notes online that will be downloaded on the night before the CAT, the thesis whose topic I have not begun to think of, the projects due as deadlines loom etc. These are what marks graduate school. However, I do have a life out of school! So here are a few updates:

1. On Operation Smile

So you remember me saying someone came forward to help out with operation smile? I’m sure you are wondering who. I asked him if I could blog about it, and he didn’t really care if I did or I did not! To start with, I had to find the company that sells the plates needed and other medical supplies, Amiken Ltd. AS a Ninja(ress), I never ask for direction when I have Google maps on my Galaxy S II.

View Larger Map

The only problem is, Amiken Ltd is mapped inside D.O.D. I went to D.O.D and at the gate, told them I was going to Amiken Ltd. They told me there is no place like that and directed me to Lenana Road! Anyone reading this who can edit Google maps? This place is on Lenana road!

At the clinic, they gave me the invoice for the mandibular plates (artificial jaw) and I called one Fredrick Afune, who is the programme director for Royal Media Services. He is the hero of this operation smile πŸ™‚

To cut the long story short, I went to his office and picked the cheque he wrote for Amiken Ltd. I called Amiken to confirm if they take cheques.

“hallo!, hallooo! ” this is me calling in excitement

“Hallo. Amiken blah blah how may I-”

“Do you take cheques?” I cut her off.

“You want implants?” – I paused here. Do I want implants? Stood straight and looked at my chest and couldn’t see the floor. Definitely no need for implants.

“No, I am asking if you take cheques.”

“Yes, but you have to wait for four days for the cheque to clear before you can pick the implants.”

Anyway, Gilbert Maoga who needs his smile back is now seeing his doctor at Kenyatta National Hospital. He should be scheduled for surgery later this week or early next week. Once the bill from KNH is presented, Mr. Afune has also promised to settle it. All I can say is, thank you! Thank you all who helped with Operation Smile!

2. The KPL and AFC Leopards

I spend my weekends watching football. Most of my team’s matches (AFC Leopards, 2012 KPL champions) are held at Nyayo National Stadium. I usually go early, swim in the olympic-sized pool for Kshs. 150 bob per person for the day. After swimming, I’ll meet my fellow fans at the poolside restaurant for lunch, then at 3pm get into the stadium for the match.

AFC Leopards is currently second in the KPL standings, having drawn 0-0 on our first match against Chemelil Sugar; and this past Sunday we won 2-0 against Mathare United. We now have a total of 4 points. Our current squad is on form, and here they are below doing a jig for the cameras (and the fans) after Bagaye scored the first goal. Mang’oli scored the second goal!

For more on AFC, check out the fan blog.

These are the men that make my weekends πŸ™‚

Anyway, in addition to work (I recently started on a short-term contract job), I have the mobile web East Africa conference to attend on Wednesday and Thursday. Not forgetting, I have CAT on Thursday evening, and an assignment to present on Friday evening, as well as a game to attend on Saturday. Amongst many other things on my to-do list.

Keep reading.

Operation Smile: Good News

For almost two moths now, I ran an online campaign I called Operation Smile.

Image from http://rivercrestdentalblog.com

Someone has offered to pay off the entire remaining amount, and it will be done soon and operation smile shall be a success.

I want to thank all those who helped, financially and emotionally. Thank you all πŸ™‚

More updates soon.

Operation Smile: Update and Way Forward

I know you are wondering, what happened to that Operation Smile story?! You guys helped me raise about Kshs. 60,000 (61,980 to be exact). The amount needed is Kshs. 150,000.

What’s this amount for? Take a look at the last post I wrote on this topic:

In summary, I was (and I still am) running a social media campaign to try and raise the Kshs. 150,000 needed for a friend of mine to get jaw surgery. His jaw was removed during an earlier surgery to remove a tumour. The cost of the artificial jaw is about Kshs. 150,000. We deposited the amount we had in the account and asked them if they could release the jaw, but they said the need the full amount.

I want to go to the clinic selling the supplies and ask them what’s the least amount they can take. I will show themthese blog posts. Then with the new (hopefully lower) target amount, I can start the campaign again. And hopefully this time, I will be successful, with your help.

Operation Smile: Did We Hit a StoneWall?

For the past one month, I have been running an online campaign that I dubbed #OperationSmile πŸ™‚ . Yes I know, since Kenya went off to war, that name Operation is now being misused.Operation Let Us Strike. I digress.

Anyway, I have been running an online campaign where I am trying to help a friend get a jaw. His jaw was removed when he had surgery to remove a lymphatic tumor. I don’t want to show you the pictures, it’s heartbreaking. You can see them on this post here.

The money he needs for surgery is Kshs. 150,000. So far I have managed to raise Kshs. 61,980. So in the past two weeks, he went to hospital (KNH), did X-rays, and was referred to a certain clinic where they sell plastic surgery stuff. The father went there with the X-ray measurements and was given a price quote of Kshs. 140,000. He tried to persuade them to take what they have but they said he will not get the artificial jaw until all the money has been deposited.

I felt defeated; at first. But now I am going to renew and redouble my efforts. With the doctors on strike over low pay, this is not the time to negotiate with them to accept a lower amount! In any case, KNH can do the surgery for a very little amount, it’s the artificial jaw that is costly and to these private suppliers, Maoga is just another patient. They see cases like that every day.

Maoga and I when I visited him about two weeks ago.

But Maoga is not just another patient, he’s my friend. I’d like to see him get his smile back. If you would like to help, please M-PESA to the number 0727832685. My strategy is simple.. if 500 people each MPESA Kshs. 200… do the math. Be among the 500 πŸ™‚

Operation Smile :) – Update

Some days you wake up and for a few seconds you are in total bliss. It’s a new day! And then your responsibilities dawn on you (no pun intended) and you just wish they would all go away so you can spend all day in bed watching movies!

I have been running a social media campaign for the past one month, I call it Operation Smile πŸ™‚ . The link will lead to all the articles I have written about it.

I am trying to help a friend of mine get a jaw so he can smile again. His jaw was removed during surgery to remove a tumour.
The money he needs for surgery is Kshs. 150,000. So far I have managed to raise Kshs. 61,980.

If you are wondering why I did not go to the newspapers, I tried… but after being told to wait for editors to approve, that they did not do appeal stories any more and other reasons why the story couldn’t be aired/published, I decided to do it myself. My blog is my media.

I want to thank all of you guys for your help.

I visited him a Sunday back, and he looked well, physically. Well, save for lack of a jaw.

The author with Maoga in Ongata Rongai where he stays with his father.

So did he go into surgery?

Armed with the amount we had raised, his father took him to KNH. His doctor told him to make a deposit of at least half before they could begin treating him, but when his father told that’s all they had, he was referred to one of the hospital directors.

The director told him to go back to hospital today. From what his father implied, it seems as if they might go ahead and do the surgery even if the money is not enough. Crossing my fingers hoping this happens soon! Of course they will then slap him with a huge (huge here is relative, of course some people might see it as peanuts) bill, but I hope he will already be smiling by then.

Operation Smile :) Update

For those of you who have been following this blog, you know I have been running a social media campaign to try and raise Kshs. 150, 000 (about $1500) get jaw surgery for my friend. I am calling it Operation Smile πŸ™‚

So far, with your help, I have managed to raise Kshs. 52, 480. This is about a third of the actual amount needed.

I have decided to inquire if it is possible for the hospital to treat him with the initial deposit of Kshs. 52, 480 and then while we worry about the remainder of the bill he will already have his smile.

I do realize that this Harambee Model is not very sustainable. You cannot have people contributing for causes all the time, it gets tiring. For me, it is emotionally draining, always wondering if you will succeed, always picturing the consequences of failure, always looking for new ways of appealing to people (and this is the part I hate most, the part where I have to ask for help. It’s not that I’m a proud person it’s just that it takes a strong person to admit they need help).

Image courtsey of Supersport

When I started this campaign, everyone was thinking it will be easy breazy. I mean I got a lot of friends online, right? Well, somehow those whom I thought were my closest friends on social media have been the most quiet. Isn’t that the way it is in real life too?

Tomorrow I shall make a visit to where he lives, my friend Maoga from this post. I haven’t seen him since that hospital visit but I hope he is fairing on well. Hard to do that without a jaw, I know. I’ll be going there with some students from Norway who are making a documentary about ‘a Kenyan Girl’ and I’m er.. the star of the show πŸ™‚ Operation Smile will be one of their highlights.

Anyway, my question is one, have you contributed? My strategy is simple, if 500 people each MPESA Kshs. 200 to the number 0727832685, then we have Kshs. 100,000 which is the remainder of the money. What are you waiting for, let’s get this guy his smile back! πŸ™‚

Why We Love to Hate Successful People

It is true, there is a scientific explanation as why we hate them. Publicly we adore them, we worship them. But given a chance we’d love to take their place. I read Dr. Chris Hart’s column in SN; he once talked about why we relish the fall from grace of rich and successful people. Survival of the fittest. If the fittest fall, then maybe we can take their place and our chances of survival are higher.

If for instance all you have is a Diploma from Kenya Poly (I think it’s a university now, Kenya Polytechnic University? Shouldn’t they drop the polytechnic then since it’s upgraded to a uni? Kenya uni? I digress). I have nothing against a Kenya Poly graduate but I’m just saying its academia status is not the same as say, that of UoN. It’s understandable to hate on UoN students.

image from pimpmyspace.org

Enter the world of cyber bullies. It’s easy to be anonymous on the internet. Your name is Francis? How about you just call yourself Frankie. Then rant all you want, all day every day. I just think it is sad to kill any minute hint of creativity you might have had on talking NEGATIVELY about people.

If you are on twitter you can have hate tweets directed at you all day, telling you to go back to facebook, telling you you are stupid, fat and ugly, slutty and cheap, ghetto etc. Sometimes you are forced to go to facebook and get the pic with the most likes, the one portraying your thinnest self in the most sexy way, and prove to the haters that you are indeed beautiful.

But you see, haters don’t care about the truth. It’s never about the truth but about the glee we get from hating on beautiful successful people. No one will stop having their fun to go dig for the truth.

So hold your head high, the wave of bullying will move onto the next victim. You need to know what and believe in yourself so that idiots don’t sway your opinion of yourself.
@Juuchini has written a survival guide: beat cyber bullies at their own game.

ION: OperationSmile Day 8: Keeping Hope Alive

I am running a social media campaign to help a young man replace his jaw. I am still far short of the target of Kshs. 150,000. In fact, we are about (takes out calculator (33,312/150,000)*100) 22.208% into the target. But I shall not give up. You know why?

Sometimes good things happen to good people. Sometimes the good guys win. Sometimes there are happy endings. Sometimes someone will read this and actually respond. Help me make operation smile a happy ending by being one of the 1,000 people to give Kshs. 200 towards this operation. As I said before, 200X1000? Do the math.

Since we’re remaining with Kshs. 116,688.. only 583.44 people need to spare a 200bob and we’re good to go!

Donations can be sent via MPESA to the number 0727832685. Alternatively, the money can be sent through Western Union, just email me savvy.kenya@gmail.com for details! Let’s do this!

WordCamp Kenya is 3 Days Away!

How would you like to spend this coming weekend 12-13th November? How about at Crayfish Camp in Naivasha, hanging out with the coolest WordPress friends and users, learning about WordPress the blogging platform (which this blog runs on) from experienced bloggers, users and developers. Including transport to and from Nairobi, accommodation, food, a t-shirt (what’s a function without a tshirt!), 500 bob worth of airtime from Safaricom, and the 2-day conference. Still not convinced?

WordCamp Kenya is a conference about the world’s most popular blogging software WordPress. Developers, designers and users will come together for talks and workshops related to WordPress and to publishing on the web, and to network. WordCamp Kenya 2011 is happening on 12th and 13th November 2011 at Crayfish Camp.

Image from my archives

Tickets will cost you Kshs. 3,500.

#OperationSmile Day 7: WordCampKE Responds!

Read about Day 6

Today is the 6th of my online campaign to try and raise Kshs.150,000; the amount needed for a young man to have surgery to replace his lower jaw.

I got a major boost yesterday from a friend (at this point you might realize everyone online is my friend!) overseas and we’re now at about Kshs. 30,000. The remaining amount remaining now is Kshs. 120,000. Will you help? As I said before, if 1,000 people contribute Kshs.200… do the math! Question is, will you be among the 1,000? the MPESA number is 0727832685.

The folks at WordCampKE have agreed to let me keep the sales of five tickets if I can sell them. So who wants to go for WordCamp? Here are reasons why you should attend wordcamp

I’m selling the tickets at a discount, I’ll sell them at Kshs.3000. So who’s up for Naivasha this weekend?

#OperationSmile :) Day 6: A Different Angle

Read about Day 5.

I am running a social media campaign to try and raise Kshs.150,000; the amount needed for a young man to have surgery to replace his lower jaw.

Today, I choose to see the other side.. the negative side. I mean the amount left before we hit the target of 150K. So far, the amount contributed (by MPESA:0727832685) from my friends and friends of friends on social media comes to Kshs. 17, 612.

That means we have Kshs. 132,388. I need this negative balance to be 0. Please help?

As I said before, if 1,000 people contribute Kshs.200… do the math! Question is, will you be among the 1,000?

Blessed and productive week ahead!

#OperationSmile :) Day 5: Slow Sundays

Read about Day 4.

I am running a social media campaign to try and raise Kshs.150,000; the amount needed for a young man to have surgery to replace his lower jaw.

Sundays are slow days and I’ve probably sent only a couple of tweets about my campaign. I was woken up by a text from a lady tweep, @MaggieTheMezzo sending me her contribution.

I was beginning to ask myself, will I succeed? But she restored hope in me. I must keep going. Slowly by slowly, 200bob here, 50bob there, 3000 now, 1000then.. we’ll get there.

So far, the amount contributed (by MPESA:0727832685) from my friends and friends of friends on social media comes to Kshs. 16, 412.

As I said before, if 1,000 people contribute Kshs.200… do the math! Question is, will you be among the 1,000?

Blessed and productive week ahead!